Microsoft's failing to even show a heartbeat of a mobile OS response to the Apple iPhone and Google Android is not new news. The next shoe to fall may be the tablet market, with tomorrow's expected announcement of the iSlate, iTablet, iWin from Apple. A desktop and laptop OS like Windows enabled the tablet PC but it hasn't created a new market of consumer devices of the likes Apple is expected to usher in. Apple's moving up the stack by taking their iPhone OS and scaling it up to a larger device, rather than using a desktop OS on a tablet device.
Whether Apple will be successful in the tablet market is yet to be seen, but with Apple's tremendous track record of the iPhone (100% increase in units sold last year), the iTouch (also up) and Mac OS X computers (33% increase in units sold) resulting in an amazing $15.68B revenue quarter, I'm betting Apple has a good chance of getting the tablet market right.
Microsoft has added very good touch interface capabilities in Windows 7, but hasn't focused on the mojo to position Windows 7 as a touch interface leader in the market. This despite a significant investment by HP in Windows 7 touch capable desktop and laptop computers which include HP's own touch interface extensions to Windows 7 OS.
Adding touch to Windows 7 could have been a huge plus, but Microsoft just seems happy that Windows 7 sales are doing well as a desktop and laptop OS. After the Windows Vista experience, that's somewhat understandable. But while Windows 7 is recovering some of the ground vaporized by Vista, Microsoft has passively positioned itself for a tablet market takeover by Apple and possibly others.
Despite all the advantages of Microsoft's software plus OEM hardware strategy, Apple steadily revalidates their original single source software plus hardware strategy crafted by the Apple II (my first personal computer.)
If you hear a giant sucking sound tomorrow during Apple's tablet announcement, it's the air being released from the Microsoft tablet PC and Windows 7 touch interface balloons.